Lilian’s lovebird (Everything You Need to Know)

Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Ali Shahid

 Lilian’s lovebird is rare and least studied among the 9 lovebird types. They are also known as Nyasa lovebirds because of their long blunt tails.

They are considered the smallest parrot in mainland Africa and have a green body with an orange/red forehead and crown. They have a small stature and a charming appearance.

In many cases, Lilian’s lovebird is confused with Fischer’s lovebird, which has a blue rump and an olive-green hood. Additionally, it is like rosy-faced lovebirds, which lack a white eye-ring and have a more clearly demarcated orange coloration.

Generally, they are gentle, docile, and friendly. Traditionally, they have been kept as pets. Now, they are rare in captivity because of the difficulty to breed them in captivity.

Even experienced breeders have failed to breed these tiny lovebirds. Continue reading to learn everything about this tiny mystery lovebird.

Overview of Lilian’s Lovebird
Common NameLilian’s lovebird, Nyasa Lovebirds
Scientific NameAgapornis lilianae
OriginAfrica
ColorsMostly Green body with a red forehead and crown
Size5.3 Inches
Weight23-28gm
PersonalitySocial and loving
Soundhigh-pitched and twittering
Clutch Size3-8
Incubation Period21-22 Days
Lifespan10 Years
ThreatenedNear-Threatened

Lilian’s Lovebird Habitat

Originally from Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Lilian’s Love Bird is now a popular tourist attraction. A few individuals live outside Leonard National Park (LNP), but the species is largely confined to the park.

In 2004, less than 20,000 people were living in the wild areas. LNPs are rapidly becoming its primary distribution due to agriculture’s impact on its breeding and feeding habitats.

There is no scientific basis for determining the extent of habitat loss outside the LNP, although there is the fragmentation of Mimbo Forest Reserve outside the LNP.

Appearance

Including the tail, Lilian’s lovebird reaches a length of 5.3 inches (13.4 cm). Its feathers are mostly green, while its eye rings are white. Rather than being green, it is yellow-green with orange patches on its head, throat, and upper chest.

The plumage of this bird is mostly green. Their white eye rings and dark red-brown eyes easily distinguish them from other aquatic animals. Additionally, their orange/red beak makes them stand out from other birds.

In the crown, face, and upper breast, orange/red color blends with salmon pink. In the tail, the green color dominates. The tail is green and features yellow-orange bands at the tip and black lateral feathers at the base.

There is no difference in appearance between males and females. A juvenile’s appearance is duller than that of an adult; their cheeks may contain variable amounts of black wash.


Behavior

As its name suggests, this bird is sociable and loving. The birds associate together in flocks. A flock of these birds may vocalize and preen together in the morning before departing together to graze. Known for their social personality, Lilian’s lovebirds live in groups of 20 to 25 individuals.

They can be found in abundance in tall broadleaf mopane or thorn tree woods. They will be found in pairs, smaller flocks, and large flocks. This practice is called courtship feeding when birds feed each other.

A lovebird nests in mixed colonies with other bird species, unlike other lovebirds such as the Fischer’s lovebird. They are better suited to being pets for children than parakeets or cockatiels, as they are more aggressive.

The lovebirds of Lilian are full of personality and very affectionate with their human companions. Lilian’s lovebirds are intelligent and devoted to their human companions. The freedom to fly and exercise is vital for your lovebirds.

If you do not intend to spend a lot of time with your bird every day, you should ideally get two lovebirds from Lilian.

Breeding

In the winter months of January through March, and in June and July, Lilian’s lovebirds breed. The birds build a nest in tree cervices. Chicks leave the nest after about 44 days from hatching. They have 3 to 8 eggs and these eggs are incubated for about 22 days

Diet

The Lilian’s lovebird is primarily a seed-eating bird in the wild. During a 2018 study, Lilian’s lovebirds ate over 30 different kinds of plants, indicating a varied diet. Grass, fruit, and seeds comprise most of Lilian’s Lovebird’s diet.

Even the toughest seeds can be cracked open with their large beaks! Wild rice, millet, and sorghum are among the grass seeds they prefer. Additionally, they consume the seeds of Acacia trees.

The parrots also consume flowers and flower buds, leaf buds, wild fruits, and berries. They rely heavily on foraging for food. Generally, they prefer broadleaved woodlands with access to water.

Care

Make sure that the cage you get for Lilian’s lovebird is large enough so that it has space to move around and play safely. Keep a few toys in your bird’s cage to keep them entertained, such as bamboo rings, swings, and ladders. Keep its cage fresh and hygienic by cleaning it once a week.

Threats

A moderately small population of this species may be in decline, which makes it near Threatened species. As a result of flooding by Lake Kariba along a large portion of the Zambezi valley, its population is diminishing considerably.

Additionally, small-scale farmers consider it to be a pest. Poisonings of Lilian’s Lovebirds have increased in recent years, and it is not certain if they are being poisoned by farmers or by poachers aiming to kill large mammals, in which case these lovebirds will suffer the same fate.

The species is captured and traded in Zimbabwe and Zambia in addition to large numbers being trapped for the international cage-bird trade. 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the average life span of Lilian’s lovebird?

The lovebirds of Lilian live for 10 to 12 years.

What health issues do Lillian lovebirds face?

For these species, loneliness is the most significant health concern. They have lifelong mates.

How much does a Lilian lovebird cost?

Lilian lovebirds differ in price, but they are usually less expensive than larger or rarer parrot species. Prices ranged from $45 to $200.

Reference:

Tiwonge I Mzumara, Mike R Perrin & Colleen T Downs (2018) Feeding ecology of Lilian’s Lovebird Agapornis lilianae in Liwonde National Park, Malawi, Ostrich, 89:3, 233-239,

Author

  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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